The NZ Transport Agency is advising motorists that the roadworks season is swinging into gear as crews swoop in to make roads safe while the weather is warm.
NZTA regional state highways manager David McGonigal says drivers are likely to encounter roadworks on Taranaki's highways over the next few months, and should leave time up their sleeve for potential delays. The next big job will be at Midhirst, where work will begin on Monday to provide a new, safer driving surface near the Railway Overbridge. The work will take around two weeks, weather permitting, and delays of up to ten minutes should be expected.
“We know road works can be a bit of a headache for motorists but resealing the roads keep motorists and their passengers safe on our state highways. Pot holes, cracked roads and roads that have come to the end of their natural life have reduced skid resistance, and this can increase the risk of crashes and injuries, so we’re making sure we have safe road surfaces to drive on,” said Mr McGonigal.
"When you see roadworks, that's means the highway is about to become safer to drive on."
Mr McGonigal says an unprecedented $78.3m is being invested over the next three years on the maintenance, operation and renewal of Taranaki's state highways, 20% more than the previous three years.
He says regularly resurfacing the roads also prevents expensive long-term repairs.
“Maintaining the roads is like painting your house every 10 years to give it a protective seal from wear and tear and exposure to weather, as well as increase its durability,” says Mr McGonigal.
Mr McGonigal says traffic management including some speed restrictions will be in place from time to time, so motorists should still expect delays, plan ahead and leave extra time for journeys.
He says it is crucial that motorists observe the speed restrictions at all times.
"The speed restrictions are there to protect both drivers and the road workers, so please stick to them no matter what - if it says thirty, then that's the speed limit. Speed restrictions also help to prevent windscreen damage, which tends to arise from people driving too fast through roadworks sites and flicking up loose chips into other vehicles."
"Even if there is no work happening onsite, we ask that people keep their speeds down to let the new surface cure - otherwise it can get ripped up and we'll need to start all over again."
NZTA reseals the roads over summer as the traffic volumes are generally lower and spread more evenly across the day, which helps to avoid delays in peak times when everyone is back at work.
Summer is the best time to reseal roads, as the warm temperatures and dry air helps the new seal to stick to the existing road surface.
"If we did the work in winter, the cold ground would mean the new surface would harden and crack, plus the stones in the chip seal could pop out if exposed to cold weather within four weeks of application, and we’d just have to do the work all over again next year – causing you more inconvenience."